Early Friday morning, May 17, 22-year-old Nicolas Reid was killed in a tragic wrong-way car crash on I-95 near University Boulevard.
Reid was a passenger in a Nissan Altima driven by 19-year-old Haven Vaughn. Florida Highway Patrol says the Nissan was traveling south in the left, northbound lane of I-95 when it struck a northbound Dodge Avenger. Vaughn and the driver of the Dodge, a 24-year-old man from Jacksonville, suffered only minor injuries. Reid, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died in the crash.
Reid was the father of a 4-year-old daughter. His family members say he was a devoted father, a talented landscaper, and loved to fish.
FHP says charges are pending in the accident. Meanwhile, wrong-way crashes are sadly not uncommon on Florida interstates. In 2015, there were 71 wrong-way crashes in Duval County alone, two of them fatal. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently finished a $1.3 million project to improve wrong-way signage and pavement markings.
“The signage includes more reflective tape on the wrong-way signs,” explained FDOT spokesperson Hampton Ray. “You may not think that it’s a fancy upgrade, but typically these occurrences happen at night and we want to make sure it’s as visible as possible and the drivers know when they are taking the wrong way.”
FDOT adds that improvements were made to roughly 200 interstates and state roads, reminding drivers that if they see someone traveling the wrong way to pull over to a safe location and call 911.
Troopers said they were working to figure out how Vaughn ended up driving the wrong way on the interstate despite concrete barriers. If there was negligence on the part of Vaughn or FDOT, Reid’s family could have cause for a wrongful death lawsuit.